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Broadband's Impact

Chris Jordan: Preparing for Potentially Dire Consequences of California Consumer Privacy Act

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The California Consumer Privacy Act passed into law in 2018 is scheduled to go into effect January 2020. It could potentially have dire consequences for unprepared businesses serving their customers especially when they demand to be forgotten.

The new law affects everyone from internet service providers to mom-and-pop shops when it comes to privacy, data retention and compliance regulations. Failure to comply with the pending CCPA regulations can result in having to pay massive fines, similar to the recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fines levied against Google in the European Union. However, there are steps that organizations can take to ensure compliance while protecting consumer data referenced as personally identifiable information (PII) or personal health information (PHI).

Companies looking to capitalize on the ever-shifting privacy landscape can maximize this opportunity by asking not just how, but why. The reasons that necessitated the CCPA are of similar logic to those that brought about its predecessor GDPR for Europeans and PIPEDA for Canadians – governments are drafting laws that aim to hold organizations accountable for safely storing and protecting consumer data. The requirements of these regulations range from the now-expected cookies prompt on websites to the use of pseudonyms when storing the data volunteered by consumers.

Another approach for organizations looking to understand the ins and outs of CCPA is to simplify the requirements. There are hundreds of pages of CCPA requirements that can equally intimidate Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike. These requirements can be distilled into a few key steps for organizations planning to minimize risks of privacy non-compliance.

  • Identify all sources of data within the organization. In order to safely secure all data that falls under an organization’s purview all sources of data flowing into the organization must be understood and documented. This makes it easier to sort the data into the appropriate data storage protocols.
  • List who can access the sources of data. Much of the focus on PII / PHI revolves around who has access to that data. By always knowing who has access to PII / PHI, organizations can minimize risks while also gaining more control over internal processes.
  • Establish requirements for each data source. Companies should determine the requirements necessary for each source of data. Predetermining data requirements, such as which fields need to have pseudonyms applied, can force organizations to give more thought to the volume and type of data expected, and better understand how best to store it.
  • Determine what processes must be changed to comply. A little foresight can go a long way. Organizations examining data processes today can avoid potentially hefty fines for non-compliance when the CCPA goes into effect in 2020.
  • Take control of data retention processes. Once companies have taken the proper steps to limit access, establish requirements, and determine processes for storing data, the next step is to take complete control of the data retention process. Establishing and maintaining control of data is the ultimate compliance goal for organizations that fall under jurisdiction of CCPA or GDPR. Additionally, there are vendors who offer capabilities such as automation and enhanced searchability of data retention.

There is no time like the present for organizations to start taking steps to ensure CCPA compliance. Often the most time-consuming part of the process is determining what steps are needed and who is best qualified to understand and overhaul data retention processes. Get a head start on understanding the 2020 requirements and take action before it’s too late.

Chris Jordan is CEO and co-founder of Fluency Security (www.fluencysecurity.com), a security audit and automation technology firm that uses artificial intelligence to retain and organize data to meet regulations and support investigations in seconds.

BroadbandBreakfast.com accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to [email protected]. The views reflected in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of BroadbandBreakfast.com and Breakfast Media LLC.

Chris Jordan is CEO and co-founder of Fluency Security (www.fluencysecurity.com), a security audit and automation technology firm that uses artificial intelligence to retain and organize data to meet regulations and support investigations in seconds.

Broadband's Impact

FCC to Vote On Emergency Broadband Benefit Policies By Mid-May: Rosenworcel

The agency is expected to vote on policies for the $3.2B program by mid-May to ensure proper implementation, chairwoman says.

Derek Shumway

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April 14, 2021 – Jessica Rosenworcel, the chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, said Tuesday the agency will be voting by mid-May on policies to deliver the $3.2-billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which has received over 9,000 interested institutions through its portal.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit program is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 that passed Congress in December 2020, which provides up to $50 in a monthly internet discount for families and $75 for tribal lands to access broadband internet.

It’s “the nation’s largest ever broadband affordability program,” Rosenworcel said Tuesday on a virtual panel hosted by Allvanza, an advocacy group for Latinxs and underserved communities within the technology, telecommunications and innovation industries; the Multicultural Media Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC); and the Asian Pacific American Advocate group (OCA).

It’s “designed to make sure we get every household in this country connected to high-speed Internet service because this pandemic has proven like nothing before,” she added.

The FCC made a sign-up portal on its website to determine interest in the program, and over 9,000 institutions have signed up to date, Rosenworcel said, adding she hopes the policies for the EBB can address the homework gap by extending internet subsidies normally reserved for schools and libraries to households.

Evelyn Remaley, acting assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information and acting National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator, said minority-aimed broadband initiatives have done great work in bringing together providers and companies with minority-serving institutions.

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Digital Inclusion

Virt Seeks To Serve As The Hub To Find And Join Virtual Events

Launched last week, virt.com hopes to take advantage of the rise in virtual events by crowdsourcing them in one place.

Tim White

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Photo of GHS co-founder Victor Zonana, left, from Global Health New Zealand

April 13, 2021 – Global Health Strategies, the global advocacy group focused on health and policy, last week launched Virt.com, a new open-source media platform that crowdsources virtual events on various issues.

Those “issue channels” include health, Covid-19, climate and environment, gender, food and nutrition and human rights. It relies on users in different regions posting about upcoming events in those categories.

The launch last week coincided with a new ad campaign called Unmutetheworld, focused on digital equity around the world with the belief that internet access is a human right. It includes partnering with groups like National Digital Inclusion Alliance and grassroots organizations in many different countries.

“The pandemic has transformed our lives. The way we connect, the way we celebrate, the way we mourn, the way we work, access healthcare and learn, has changed,” GHS CEO David Gold said in an interview. “Broadband allows us to connect virtually even during the pandemic, but so many people don’t have access to the internet, they cannot connect, and we have to change that,” he said.

Gold described Virt as a way to connect people globally to meaningful conversations about health, science, policy, technology, among other topics. “We have a window of opportunity right now with the pandemic to really change. Despite all the terrible effects of COVID-19, we have this moment in time to make the case for big investments,” he said.

Gold highlighted the work of GHS and the Unmutetheworld campaign to connect people across different nations. “Broadband access comes to the heart of economic development, we have to take that momentum in the U.S. and expand it around the world,” he said.

Broadband is becoming increasingly more important, with more people working, schooling, or using health services virtually than ever before due to the pandemic.

Broadband central to digital activities

“Broadband used to be a ‘nice to have,’ now it is a ‘must have,’” Angela Siefer, executive director at NDIA, said in an interview. “Twenty years ago, we were worried about having enough computers in a classroom and lucky that one of them connected to the internet, but that has changed now, and we need to keep up with the technology. It permeates our whole lives,” she said.

President Joe Biden recently announced a new $2.3-trillion infrastructure proposal called the American Jobs Plan, which includes $100 billion for broadband programs over eight years. Congress has also recently introduced legislation on broadband initiatives, including $100 billion as part of the Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act, or LIFT America Act, sponsored by the Democratic delegation on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“We are excited about the potential of these government initiatives, not just for funding deployment, but also to address affordability, digital literacy skills and devices,” Siefer said. “We’ve never had this much awareness about broadband issues. We’re seeing real ideas being put into action.”

Siefer also mentioned state-level efforts to expand broadband, including recent legislation in New York and Maryland. Maryland plans to spend $300 million of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan on broadband programs, including infrastructure, subsidies for fees and devices, and grants for municipal broadband. New York state recently announced the 2022 fiscal year budget including a $300 billion infrastructure package that contains broadband subsidies for low-income residents and an emergency fund to provide economically-disadvantaged students with free internet access.

“We’re seeing a shift to address adoption and affordability at both the state and federal level, where previously we only saw discussion of availability,” Siefer said. “It’s not just about unserved and underserved areas when it comes to digital equity, because the infrastructure might be there, but people are not participating in broadband for a variety of reasons,” she said. “Affordability and digital literacy lock people out. New programs aim to solve that problem and get people connected.”

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Education

Libraries Must Be Vigilant To Ensure Adequate Broadband, Consultants Say

Derek Shumway

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Photo of Stephanie Stenberg via Internet2

April 7, 2021 – Libraries should monitor their broadband speeds and ensure they are getting quality connections, according to library consultants.

Carson Block from Carson Block Consulting and Stephanie Stenberg of the Internet2 Community Anchor program told a virtual conference hosted by the American Library Association on Tuesday that it’s time libraries take a closer look at how they are getting broadband and if they are getting the speeds they are paying for. If not, they said they should re-negotiate.

Block and Stenberg shared details about the “Towards Gigabit Libraries” (TGL) toolkit, a free, self-service guide for rural and tribal libraries to better understand and improve their broadband. The new toolkit helps libraries prepare for E-Rate internet subsidy requests to aid their budget cycles.

It also has tips about communicating effectively between library and tech people since there is a gap in knowledge between those two groups. The TGL is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Gigabit Libraries and Beyond (GLG) to improve the toolkit and expand throughout the United States. In addition to focusing on rural and tribal libraries, now urban libraries will be included for support.

During the event, a live poll showed all participating attendees said they “very infrequently” had technical IT support available in their home libraries. Stenberg said this confirmed TGL’s findings that libraries need more tech and IT support, as the majority of respondents in previous surveys gave similar concerning results.

To really emphasize the need for adequate broadband and support at libraries, another question was asked to live attendees about their current level of expertise around procuring and delivering access to broadband as a service in their library, assuming that the majority of attendees worked for libraries. All participants said they possess “no experience” trying to get broadband in the library.

Common issues that are to blame include libraries with insufficient bandwidth, data wiring or poorly set-up networks. Old and obsolete equipment also contributed to bad Wi-Fi coverage.

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